The last 5 years have been excellent for wildlife at Collard. Although the large blue is the headline species the site is managed for wider biodiversity as well and we are delighted with the how well the wildflowers have improved: surveys undertaken by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology show that over this period wild thyme has increased no less than fourfold!
The large blue itself has gone from strength to strength. In 2005 we were down to just 40 butterflies over the whole flight season laying about a thousand eggs. By 2009 this had reached the dizzy heights of a twenty-fold increase to 20,000 eggs! We wondered whether the slopes would be reaching their maximum carrying capacity and numbers would tail off or even drop.
Not only did they rise – they jumped! In 2010 over 1,200 large blue butterflies emerged! Half as much again as the already record numbers seen in 2009, making Collard Hill one of the best sites for the large blue in the whole of Europe. Up to 30 or even 40 individuals were on the wing at the peak making for a very rewarding time on the hill for visitors.